Moving into Phae
For the moment, I’ll just breeze past some of the drama involved in actually acquiring our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton, “Phae”, including 2-3 weeks of homelessness. It’s much more fun to focus on the part where we just drove off and left it all behind us!
We’d made up our minds and we started packing. The first stop was my parents’ house, where we crashed during our brief period of homelessness. Big shout out to Jim & Linda for opening their home to not only us, but also a seriously confused German Shepherd puppy and an RV-sized pile of our “stuff”.
Also to the Lenders, newlyweds at the time, who took “Little Dog” in like one of the family. Olivia had her own room, with a window overlooking the neighbor’s chickens.
Somehow, I’d gotten it into my head that Labor Day signaled the end of part-timer RV season. I was sure that by the end of September, we would have our pick of RV parks. In the hustle and bustle of selling the house, moving in with the ‘rents, and getting final loan approval on the RV, I never actually got around to reserving a site. (Oops…) Imagine my surprise when I called up the park we’d selected to make a month-long reservation starting that evening. Who could have guessed that they would be booked solid every weekend in October???
Heard of OctoberFest, anyone?
But as these things usually go, it worked out for the best. We stayed the night in my parents’ driveway. Moving always takes longer than you think, doesn’t it? Of course, that also tends to happen when we drink up the wine and we get to talking with friends…
The next day I called around and learned a valuable, common sense RVing lesson. The further away from town you go, the better the price and availability. Before lunchtime, we were reserved at a park an hour further out, but had several advantages, including a lower price, a fenced dog park, and a more picturesque setting. Our first major hurdle crossed!
Now we just had to finish packing, do a quick driving lesson for me, and make our way to Lazy Day Resort in Dansville MO.
This brings us to lessons 2 and 3 as RV newbs. When driving your rig locally, even for short distances, it is important to plan your route! Also, pay attention to the timing of your drive. We may not have the rush hour commute anymore, but the rest of the country isn’t so lucky. Long story short, my first time behind the wheel of our 12′ high, 40′ long rig was in the pouring rain, during rush hour, on a tiny side road, with Matt lamaze breathing over my shoulder. In the heat of the moment, we didn’t think to capture a picture for posterity. So please enjoy this reenactment…
As usual, we took much longer than expected to get to the park. We should have left before the sun came up that day. We had to get connected water, sewer, and electric for the first time in the pitch black. It still barely took us 20 minutes, which certainly boosted our RVing confidence! Just in time, too. Matt travelled for work the very next day, leaving me alone with Phae for the next few weeks. But she’s a solid rig and gave me no trouble.
The next 2 months were spent enjoying the peace and quiet of country living and getting acclimating to life in Phae. About this time, Olivia decided to go wandering off somewhere. Apparently she ninja-rolled out the front door when I took the pup out for a late night potty. I was beside myself imagining all of the dangers that lurked in the wilderness. Where was she going without ever knowing the way? The temperatures dropped every day, with the next night forecasted to go below freezing.
As fate would have it, Olivia broke cover that afternoon and the neighbor happened to spot her in the shed two sites down. Five minutes and one can of tuna later, she was back home, snuggled up under the covers. I highly recommend missingpetpartnership.org for anyone who’s lost a pet. The page about lost cat behavior was particularly helpful in knowing who to talk to and where to look. Since we had just “moved”, she didn’t know the way home, even though it was just a few hundred feet away. I might never have found her without their advice!
This whole time, we were waiting to share the news of our move with friends and family. We were still ironing out the transition details at my work, and I couldn’t have the news dribble out to my co-workers on Facebook. Honestly, I can’t believe I made it 2 months without slipping up. We had packed up, sold our house, bought the RV, and moved an hour away without ever breathing a word to my colleagues. It was a complete surprise when I announced my impending departure just days before we headed out.
The days quickly cooled and the nights got down right chilly, as we neared Thanksgiving. We’ spent some time with family before hitting the road. We parked in Matt’s parents’ driveway but stayed in the guest room, as it was getting too cold to sleep in the rig. With some help from them, we’ve now sold the Mazda, Ranger, motorcycle and trailer. That gorgeous red Jeep Wrangler (Meep the Jeep) came along for the ride.
By the end of November, we had definitely overstayed our welcome in Missouri weather. Our LP tank was paying the price. Time to book it to warmer climes!
Our next stop would have palm trees and flip-flop weather. So in our minds, it was really the FIRST stop. We were taking the exit to eternal summer slacking!